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Oedipus Rex - Tragedy of Fate or Character

Oedipus Rex - Tragedy of Fate or Character

  • Submitted By: cashan
  • Date Submitted: 10/23/2008 1:12 AM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 1511
  • Page: 7
  • Views: 2324

Q1: Would you describe Oedipus Rex as a tragedy of fate or a tragedy of character?

Ans: Oedipus Rex, produced by Sophocles in the maturity of his powers, is his masterpiece. Aristotle also regarded this play as Sophocles’ best and he frequently referred to it as the perfect type of faultless-constructed plot with the profoundest insight into human movie and circumstance.

Oedipus Rex is, to a large extend, tragedy of fate. The crucial events in the play have been pre-determined by fate or the gods. Human beings seem rather helpless in the face of the circumstances which mould their destiny. King Laius was told that his own son by Jocasta would kill him. So as soon as Jocasta gave birth to a son, Laius had him chained and handed him over to a trustworthy servant with strict and precise instruction to expose the child on Mt. Cithaeron and allowed to perish. But the servant, out of compassion, handed over the child to a Corinthian shepherd who passed him on to the Corinthian King. The child grew up as the son of Polybus and Merope, the King and Queen of Corinth and subsequently killed his true father. Of course, the son killed his father unknowingly and in complete ignorance of the real identity of his victim. But Apollo’s oracle was fulfilled in the case of Laius even though he and his wife Jocasta took extreme step of ordering the death of their own child, in order to escape the fate.

Oedipus’s efforts to avert his fate: Oedipus learnt from the oracle that he would kill his own father and marry his own mother. Like his parents, Oedipus tried his utmost to avert a terrible fate. He fled from Corinth. His wandering took him to Thebes where people were facing great misfortune. King Laius was killed by Oedipus himself at a spot were three roads met. The city was in grip of a frightful monster, the Sphinx, who was causing lot of destructions as nobody was able to solve her riddle. Oedipus solved the riddle and thus put an end to the monster. As a reward he was...

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